Ever fall totally in love with something only to have a heart attack when you look at the price tag? On a recent walk down our favorite craft store’s Fall decor aisle, I experienced just that. Big M and I both fell head over heels for a gorgeous, Fall Leaf Garland, with big beautiful leaves crafted from colored burlap. It was only 5 feet long, so we would have needed two, and it was $40! So, we decided to make one ourselves!
DIY Fall Leaf Garland
There was no way I could justify spending $80 on Fall Leaf Garlands that I knew the girls and I could make ourselves for a fraction of the cost… and since I was already at the craft store, I set out to make it happen.
Fall Leaf Garland Supplies
We were able to make our garland, stretching the length of our entire mantle, for less than half the price of one of the 5 foot garlands we saw in the store. The other bonus of DIY? We got to pick exactly what colors we wanted to paint our leaves!
1 yard burlap ($3)
4 assorted acrylic paints (2 fl. oz., $2/each)
Grapevine Wire (25 feet, $3)
Floral Stem Wire ($3)
Brown Floral Tape ($3)
Sizing spray (optional)
Cost: Less than $20
Total Project Time: 2-3 hours, plus several hours of drying time
Big M liked the ‘sparkly,’ metallic acrylic paints, so we opted for 4 different Fall, metallic jewel tones: a gold, copper, bronze and burgundy. We decided to also do some plain, burlap leaves, which is where they sizing spray came in. For our leaf template, I blew up the one linked above to fit on an 8.5 x 11″ sheet of cardstock, and smoothed the edges, eliminating some of the more intricate details for simplicity.
Making Our Fall Leaf Garland
First, I cut up our yard of plain burlap into squares, roughly the size of letter-size paper. I set the girls up at their craft table with the squares and gave each of them one brush and paint plate to paint the burlap. Be heavy handed with the paint – it will help the burlap stiffen and prevent it from fraying when you cut out your leaves. Full disclosure – the girls each did 3-4 squares before moving on, so I finished the rest during quiet time.
I laid the burlap on top of sheets of paper, as some of the paint will seep through, and I needed an easy way to transport and lay them all out for drying. If you want to use some plain burlap leaves as well, spray the plain burlap squares with sizing spray. This will stiffen and prevent it from fraying, just like the paint does.
Once the painted burlap was fully dry, I separated them from the paper. Using my leaf template, I traced the leaf outline on each square and cut them out.
For the darker colors, a white crayon worked well. For lighter colors, a black sharpie was perfect. From the remaining scraps on each square, I also cut out some free-hand, basic leaf shapes.
Once all your leaves are cut out, it’s time to wire your leaves to the grapevine wire. I used floral stem wire to do this, adding three to each of the large leaf cut-outs so I could bend them and give them some dimension. I attached wire(s) to each leaf with hot glue, then bound the wires together by wrapping them with floral tape. Last, I used floral tape to attach the leaves to the grapevine wire.
After I attached all the leaves, it was ready to put up on the mantle!
While I may have carried a heavier role in this project than the girls, they are both still so proud to have contributed to making our new Fall decorations, and tell everyone they painted the leaves!
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like our 50+ Autumn Leaf Activities, Crafts and Decor Ideas. You can also find all our DIY projects, along with our inspirations and favorites from around the web on our DIY / Crafts for Grown Ups board on Pinterest.
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